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Press Release

PTC Responds to FCC's Proposal to Limit Broadcast Decency Enforcement

Release Date: 4/1/2013

LOS ANGELES (April 1, 2013) - The Parents Television Council (PTC) responded to the news today that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will open up a public comment period about whether to change the FCC's rule on indecent programming and only pursue "egregious" indecency complaints from the public.

PTC President Tim Winter said, "The FCC’s announcement today is deeply vexing for at least three reasons: It unnecessarily weakens a decency law that withstood a ferocious, ten-year constitutional attack waged by the broadcast industry. It invites yet another wave of special interest pressure to obviate the intent of Congress and the will of the American people. And it connotes a change in indecency enforcement policy at the FCC that nobody knew about, with the ‘egregious’ standard apparently having been adopted unilaterally by the Enforcement Bureau or perhaps by the Chairman himself.

“On behalf of millions of families, the PTC firmly believes that the FCC should not limit indecency enforcement only to 'egregious' vs. isolated instances. The FCC is supposed to represent the interests of the American public, not the interests of the entertainment industry.

"Either material is legally indecent or it is not. It is unnecessary for indecent content to be repeated many times in order to be actionable, and it is unwise for the FCC to pursue a new course which will guarantee nothing but a new rash of new litigation.

"An 'egregious' standard will most certainly be challenged by the broadcast networks who continue to demand the elimination of any decency standard whatsoever. The Supreme Court stated that the networks were on notice as to the Commission’s enforcement policy going forward, so why would the FCC alter it now?

"In the years that it took the networks’ legal challenges to wind their way through the federal court system, the Commission has stubbornly refused to act on any indecency enforcement measures. The second of two Supreme Court rulings was handed down almost ten months ago, so for the Commission only to act now is nothing short of shameful. It is a foot-dragging tactic, designed to delay or even prevent any future enforcement by the FCC.

"Shockingly, the FCC also indicated today that it has already dismissed 1 million indecency complaints under this proposed 'egregious' standard. The fact that the FCC already dismissed millions of complaints means a complete change in policy has been made without public input or approval from the rest of the Commission. This is an outrage.

"While we support and encourage public input on FCC proceedings, it is a system geared to favor Washington lobbyists who have access at the FCC and their entertainment industry paymasters. As such, we insist that the FCC give greatest heed to the voices of those who own the airwaves and who continue to support the broadcast decency law as necessary to protect their children," Winter concluded.

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The Parents Television Council® (®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members and 56 chapters across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at